Category Archives: Oregon

The Big Foody PDX Featured in Iwanowski's Travel Blog

Posted by Laura Morgan on July 13, 2018

We recently hosted German Travel Guide writers, Dr. Margit Brinke and Dr. Peter Kränzle on our Portland Makers Walking Tour and they wrote about it on Iwanowski's Travel Blog! Dr's Brinke and Kränzle are two of the coolest human beings on the planet and it was so interesting to learn that where they came from in Bavaria is similar in values and culture to Portland and the Pacific Northwest. They ride bikes everywhere, toil away in community gardens during summer and are serious about good beer. 

Read their story here: Excursion to Foodie Town

If you speak German (or even if you don't) please check out their blog (and Iwanowski's Travel Guides to the USA) and come visit us in Portland!

 

 

 

 

 

Honoring the Life of Anthony Bourdain

Posted by Laura Morgan on July 05, 2018

Honoring the Life of Anthony Bourdain

 

This writing will probably go out on or near the day Anthony Bourdain would have been 62 years old. Even though it’s been a couple weeks since news of his death woke me up on that strange Friday morning, and I never knew him personally, I still feel heartbroken at having written that first sentence. Why is that? More important, why is it that so many of you in “the industry” were also so affected by this tragedy?

 

Speaking for myself, Tony changed everything when he debuted on the Food Network late in my high school years. On ‘A Cook’s Tour’ he was eating his way through Asia, meeting people and participating in food rituals that were so far from my own frame of reference – so far from anything that I had ever experienced. I was blown away and immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do with my life. From that point forward, everything I’ve done is to put me one step closer to experiencing and learning from those food cultures that are foreign to me, as well as appreciating and learning more about my own. Admittedly, I read Kitchen Confidential shortly after that (and then anything else I could get my hands on) and again I realized - those are my people! That is where I belong! Everything he said appealed to me, which is why I pivoted my focus in college and work, into the food industry. I’ve done a lot of different jobs in “food,” but I’ve never desired to leave the industry since. I realized from mourning that I’m still as excited about discovery and driven by food as he made me all those years ago when I heard his voice on TV and in books for the first time.

 

I know now that most people in food feel the same. I haven’t heard from one person who wasn’t deeply affected by Tony’s passing. Whether it was A Cook’s Tour or Kitchen Confidential, or No Reservations or some other work, he spoke to people, whatever their language, in a way they could understand. If you’re a cook, it was with camaraderie - a grueling, but loved, shared experience. If you were a traveler, it was with poetry that kinda perfectly expressed the indescribable-ness of a person or a place. I guess what I’m trying to say is Tony gave a voice, demonstrated respect for people, especially frequently marginalized people, encouraged cultural reciprocity, and in doing so, made this a better place for all of us. I hope he knew that.

Top Spots to take your Valentine

Posted by Joe-Ann Day on February 08, 2018

The Big Foody’s Top Romantic places to take your Valentine

 

IN AUCKLAND:

Elle Armon- Jones top pick for the most romantic restaurant in Auckland is Casita Miro on Waiheke Island. With spectacular views of the vineyards, village and ocean, it specialises in Spanish and Mediterranean fare with the freshest and finest produce and as much locally sourced as possible. Bookings are essential.

And while you’re there, why not make a weekend of it (or even just a night away) on Waiheke Island, with visits to beautiful vineyards and breathtaking beaches.

 

Casita Miro's Vineyards

Your favourite local beach - take a picnic rug and a delicious selection of your Valentine's favourite treats and enjoy an evening out watching the sun go down.

Our staff’s top pick is Muriwai Beach where the sunsets are absolutely stunning. Pick a spot in the black sanded dunes and feast on a picnic of The Big Foody Food Tours favourite's including cheeses like - Mt Eliza Blue Monkey, Mahoe Very Old Edam and Tenara Goats Cheese. Add some antipasto and selection of cold meats and make sure you grab yourself a loaf of fresh sourdough on your way down to Muriwai from the Gourmet Gannet in Huapai. Don’t forget your Valentines favourite bottle of wine and finish the evening off with some decadent chocolates. Need help creating a perfect picnic basket with some delicious New Zealand products? Make sure you join us on one of our Big Foody Food Tours and we can let you in on all the secrets.

Muriwai's sand dunes

 

Looking to do something completely different? And have an adventurous palate? Auckland Zoo is hosting LoveBugs in conjunction with their blockbuster Te Papa and Weta Workshop exhibition Bug Lab on Valentines Day. LoveBugs will be a fun and memorable evening with entertainment by Te Papa’s irresistible ‘bugman’ Dr Phil Sirvid, live acoustic music and a 5 course degustation menu featuring the world's greatest and most sustainable superfood - bugs and bug derived ingredients. You will be tempted by Bug crumb parmesan wafers, Cricket bread croute, Locust lavosh, Ant meringue puffs and more. It will be a night not to be missed, especially with Dr Phil Sirvids stories of the love lives of some of the world's most extraordinary bugs. Bookings Essential.

 

If you want something really adventurous and bugs aren’t really your thing, consider the limited ‘Dinner in the Sky’ experience. Suspended 50 meters above ground, with fantastic views of the Auckland Harbour and city, you have the opportunity to enjoy  Brunch, Lunch, Wine Tastings, Cocktail hour or Dinner. Bookings are essential and are sure to be booked out for Valentines Day, so get in quick.

 

Ok, so bugs aren’t quite your things, nor heights? How about dinner in the pitch black, where all your senses will be infused? How about the Dinner in the Dark, at the Rydges Hotel in the Auckland CBD. Sound interesting? Dinner in the Dark is a unique sensory, social dining experience. 2- 5 course menu option are available with Trust the Chef, Seafood and Vegan options available. Bookings are essential.

 

Take your loved one to Brick Bay in Matakana, a most romantic setting and most beautiful sculpture park trail. The trail will take you a casual one hour walk through beautiful scenery, past a pond, some typical New Zealand bush and even a Kauri patch. Either walk the trail before or after your lunch, but be sure to enjoy a glass of one of their Rose’s.

Part of the Sculpture park trail at Brick Bay

 

For something a bit more ‘mushy’, check out the Auckland Stardome Observatory Valentines Evening, complete with a drink on arrival, canapes and a gorgeous gift box filled with goodies for Valentines couples including a bottle of Villa Maria Rose and even an ‘Adopt a Star’ pack.


 

IN PORTLAND, OREGON

If it were summer time over here, I would say go to Steve Jones’ other spot, Cheese Bar, in the Mt Tabor neighborhood. While there, you and your special someone would share a cheese board and a bottle of wine, and then take a walk up the wooded hill to the top of Mt. Tabor where you could catch the sunset and beautiful views of the city looking west.

However, it is winter, so we instead suggest Chizu which is sandwiched in between Shalom Y’all and Multnomah Whiskey Library downtown. At Chizu order a bottle of cold, unfiltered sake and sit down for an omakase-style cheese experience. You’ll talk to the person at the counter about your preferences and interests and they will create a (name-your-price) cheese board, leading you through a tasting of Chizu’s artisan, small batch cheese selection.

Chizu's personalised cheeseboard experience

Coquine (Mt Tabor neighborhood in SE) is perfect for a quiet, cozy, romantic evening. Chef Katy Millard just won James Beard’s 2017 Best Chef Northwest for her work at her excellent little neighborhood restaurant. I would recommend going to Coquine any time of day (they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner), but it’s an especially nice place to spend a date night or special occasion with your significant other, working your way through the four or seven course Chef’s tasting menus.

 

Noble Rot (E. Burnside – inner eastside) is great for getting a taste of all Portland has to offer. For out-of-towners, Noble Rot has it all: good food, good wine, a great view, and even rooftop vegetable gardens. The food is intensely seasonal and much of it nipped right out of the rooftop gardens directly above you. The only way to enhance the beauty of your loved one is with the twinkling lights of your evening view looking out over the fair City of Roses

 

 

Great Seafood in Each of Portland's 5 Quadrants

Posted by Laura Morgan on February 03, 2018

Generally, when I get asked about where to get seafood on tour, people are looking for one thing: oysters. Specifically, raw oysters on the half shell washed down with something fermented. As I browsed through my phone’s picture gallery for inspiration for this post, I realized that when I’m craving something from the sea, oysters are also my go-to. Even though we’re only a couple hours from the coast, PDX isn’t traditionally a seafood town, but there really is so much great seafood here these days. This being Portland, you probably already know chefs all over the city are innovating when it comes to style and sourcing.

Disclaimer: to make this blog post manageable, I’ve narrowed down the long list to just a few places that are specifically seafood-centric, not-to-be-missed and excellent all around, one from each of our five quadrants.. Yes, we have five quadrants. Nowhere in this list is the whole snapper from Departure, or the chilled seafood offerings at Woodsman Tavern, or so many others, but go to those places too, you won’t be disappointed. Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive list; it’s just a good start.

SOUTHEAST

Year of the Fish, Carts on Foster, corner of SE Foster & 52nd , Open Tues – Sat 12-8pm

The food carts on SE Foster and 52nd make up one of the only pods in SE Portland that have escaped development in the past couple years. In fact, this cart used to be on SE 50th before that lot was converted into an apartment building right off the hip, foodie-centric corridor that is SE Division. Back to the food, though. The cod fish and chips, tuna melt, clam strips.. you just can’t go wrong. All good. And the gluten free options really are gluten free as the owner has a dedicated fryer just for them. There’s also a beer garden right here and what better to wash it all down?

IG: @yearofthefish

 NORTHEAST

Olympia Oyster Bar, 4214 N Mississippi Ave, Closed Mondays – Hours vary

Named for the Olympia oyster, the only oyster native to the Pacific Northwest, this little bar is reinventing the American oyster experience. They are equally committed to serving excellent cocktails and organic wines and, because of its location and the communal tables within, it is an excellent place for visitors to people watch after a day of boutique shopping on Mississippi. Also, February 2 – 9 OOB’s chef Maylin Chavez, and a group of her passionate seafood conservationist friends are putting on a series of dinners and events in PDX called Shuck Portland to raise money and awareness for disappearing wild oyster reefs. If you’re in town, you should try to make it to one of the events! (link under Events below)

IG: @olympiaoysterbar

NORTH PORTLAND

Fishwife, 5328 N Lombard St, Closed Open Tues – Sat – Hours vary

This place is low-key, family friendly and to be honest, won’t catch your eye from the street outside. Once you’re inside though, it has that old school diner/clam shack on the beach sort of feel. Their menu items (think clam chowder, assorted fish and chips, shrimp cocktails and Louies, etc.) are good and the service is great. This place can get busy with local neighborhood families so call ahead to make a reservation and avoid the wait.

SOUTHWEST

Headwaters, The Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, Open Every day – Hours vary

Inside the beautiful Heathman hotel is swanky Headwaters, a celebratory seafood restaurant from Vitaly Paley, Portland restaurant veteran and James Beard Award winner. This is a great date night option or a great place to have dinner and drinks before you head next door to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, one of Portland’s last historic performing arts venues. Keep in mind though, if there’s a show going on next door, this place is going to get packed. Make sure to check out Vitaly Paley’s Russian Tea Service in the building as well. It’s a fun thing to do with a small group and the food and tea are exquisite.

IG: @headwaterspdx

Roe, The Morgan Building, 515 SW Broadway, Open Wed – Sat, 5:30 – 10pm

Are you looking for a dining experience that is multi-coursed, thoughtfully sourced, painstakingly prepared and outrageously good? Perhaps also a little hidden, exclusive, anticipated? Then plan well ahead and make reservations at Roe. Roe is run by Trent Pierce, multi nominated James Beard chef and fifth generation PNW restaurateur. At Roe, the seafood-focused, French and Japanese influenced menu rotates weekly and is served in several courses with optional wine pairings. This is a special occasion restaurant or just a must-try-before-you-die whether you’re visiting Portland or live here.   

IG: @roepdx

NORTHWEST

Bamboo Sushi, 836 NW 23rd Ave (several locations), Open 5-10 every day

Bamboo is a great place to find high-quality, artfully prepared sushi, especially their NW location because of the great district it’s in – plenty of shopping, bars, restaurants and entertainment. The best thing about eating here, though, is their commitment to sustainability and in fact, they were deemed the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world back in 2010. Their philosophy of responsibility spans from transparently sourcing from sustainable fisheries, including their refusal to serve that sushi house staple, Bluefin tuna, all the way to building design and waste.

IG: @bamboosushi

Events:

The crab’s finally in and oysters are in season - seafood is in the spotlight this week in PDX! Check out the following events going on this week in the city:

Shuck, Feb 2 – 9, 2018

Atlas Obscura Oyster Tasting and Maritime History, Feb 7, 2018

PDX Seafood and Wine Festival, Feb 2 & 3, 2018

A Winter Day on the Oregon Coast with Nan Devlin, Director of Tillamook Coast Tourism

Posted by Laura Morgan on February 01, 2018

From the tiny town of Seaside, the end point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, to the cranberry bogs of the southern coast, with plenty of lighthouses and sand dunes in between, there truly is something for every visitor to the Oregon coast. To help our readers make it a perfect day on the coast, we spoke with Nan Devlin, Director of Visit Tillamook, to get a few tips on preparing for your trip. Nan is lucky enough to have accumulated a lifetime of experiences here, but her current specialty is Tillamook County, the 70 or so miles from Manzanita in the north to Neskowin in the south. In Tillamook County you can find several coastal towns, each with their own unique personality, as well as access to gorgeous public parks. Here is also where you’ll find iconic Haystack Rock, the Tillamook Creamery, and thousands of gray whales passing through on their way to warmer climes each winter.

Here’s what we asked Nan:

1. What book could you recommend that would fill visitors with the spirit of the northern Oregon Coast for their trip?

This is a tough one because not much has been written about this area, other than Astoria by Peter Stark. However, there is a terrific non-fiction book called The Next Tsunami by Bonnie Henderson that reads like a mystery novel. It's about how scientists discovered the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Ocean and much of the scientific discoveries were made from Seaside to Netarts Bay. Also, we published 25 Hikes on the Tillamook Coast, and it's written like a love letter to the trails here.

2. What is a unique souvenir and why is it special?

 

3. In your opinion, what is the perfect winter day?

A walk in the forest or a nature reserve in the morning, a walk on the beach in the afternoon and a great bowl of chowder in the evening.

4. What would be your anniversary restaurant on the northern Oregon Coast?

Meridian at the new Headlands Hotel in Pacific City - or drinks and a light meal at MacGregor's Manzanita.

 

Now go enjoy your time on Oregon's beautiful coastline!

 

**Edited for additional detail.

 

It's beautiful, it's brooding, it's the Oregon Coast in Winter

Posted by Laura Morgan on January 18, 2018

The Oregon Coast, or the People’s Coast as it is proudly claimed by locals, is broody, devastatingly beautiful, and at this time of year, more than 50 shades of gray.  Every single one of the 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline are open and free to be enjoyed by the public, officially since 1967, which along with the impressive network of state parks that beeline the coast, is what makes a visit to Oregon’s coastline truly must-see-before-you-die. But right now, it’s winter, what do we eat when we get there?

Dungeness Crab

Luckily for us on the west coast, this is exactly the time the Dungeness crabs are plump and ready to pull out of the ocean. James Beard, the father of modern American cuisine, and native Oregonian once said, “Dungeness Crab is sheer, unadulterated crab heaven.” (See below for James Beard’s beloved deviled crab recipe.) Or, as Bethany Jean Clement, food writer for The Seattle Times, put it in her story this time last year, “At its freshest, Dungeness crab tastes only as oceanic as the wind off the water, more delicate and closer to sweet than anything from the bottom of the sea should imaginably be.”

Commercially speaking, Dungeness crabs weren’t filling out their shells yet on December 1st, Oregon’s official crab harvest opening date, and are now in pricing negotiations with buyers, so commercial harvest for Dungeness still hasn’t started as I’m writing this. Recreational harvest, however, is up and running and people are able to crab pot up and down the Oregon coast from the mouth of the Columbia River to Cape Blanco in the south.

I could tell you how to go crabbing, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has you covered.

For more resources, including required licenses and rules of harvest, visit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/licenses_regs/

For updates on closures and openings when you’re planning your trip: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx

 

Fish

Dungeness crab isn’t the only thing you can find coming out of the ocean right now. Lingcod, Rockfish, Sole, Flounder and Black Cod can also be found fresh at fishmongers all over Oregon. In my opinion, though, black cod is what you’re looking for.

Also known as sablefish in Jewish delis on the USA’s east coast and in many parts of the rest of the world, it is delicate, fatty and perfectly flaky when done. Probably the best fish, aside from a gorgeous Pacific Northwest salmon, that I’ve ever eaten, for one very simple reason: smoking. There is nothing better in the world than a rainy day spent next to the smoker with the promise of flaky, savory smoked black cod in your near future. I’ll post my recipe with pictures of this (and our other adventures in Portland and beyond) on our Instagram page. And if you’re in Portland, go pick up some black cod, already smoked to perfection for you from Portland Fish Market (4404 SE Woodstock Blvd.) or Flying Fish Company (2340 NE Sandy). Both shops have other seafood treats as well, like oysters on the half shell and fish & chips, or other take away items for your perfect winter picnic or dinner in.

 

Recipes

Beards’ recipe for Deviled Crab, so simple, but so, so good.

 

In the meantime, stay tuned to The Big Foody PDX for new Northern Coast food and drink tours coming online end of summer 2018! We’re so excited to share the beauty and deliciousness of the Oregon Coast with you!

 

RESOURCES FOR SOURCING SEAFOOD SUSTAINABLY

Oregon Seafood Watch

Oregon’s Seafood Consumer Guide 2017 from OSU’s Sea Grant Program (what to look for at the fishmonger)

Dungeness Crab Buying Guide from FishChoice​